The Traveling School

The Traveling School

About

The Traveling School offers teenage girls ages 15-18 the opportunity to explore the world and learn about themselves through academic, physical, and cultural challenges. Sixteen motivated young women and four inspiring teachers travel to a unique region of the globe for 15 weeks. Students earn full credit, immerse in new cultures, develop outdoor skills, and build confidence during this transformational semester.

Founded
2000
Headquarters

615 E Mendenhall St
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59715
United States

Reviews

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Caroline
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Last semester, as a sophomore, I decided to take a leap of faith to join TTS on its 23 semester. There is no such thing as a 'normal' day with The Traveling School. Due to the constant movement and changing of locations every day is unknown. On a full class day classes began at around 8:00am (typically) and ended at around 2:30/3:00pm. Classes are never in a classroom setting, they are almost always outside, many Spanish classes were spent conversing with locals in markets/city plazas. In the beginning of the semester we participated in running, soccer and conditioning before our day started in order for us to acclimate and prepare for rigorous trekking and hiking excisions.

I would recommend the TTS semester in South America to any outdoorsy girl who has a desire to strengthen her Spanish, has a passion/interest towards environmental issues and wants challenge herself physically. The four months I spent with the program included some of the most memorable days of my life thus far and I would go back in a heartbeat.

What would you improve about this program?
The Traveling School could be improved by possibly enlarging the budget for some of our small group outings. Often times (esp. near the end) groups of two or three girls were permitted to leave the hostel we were staying at to buy lunch with TTS money. In the future it would be nice to have a slightly larger amount of money in order to widen our rage of options, but for the most part that was not an issue.
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Ali
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went on this semester back in 2011, and it was the most incredible opportunity and adventure I could ever ask for. It helped me to become who I am today, and to continue my growth as I reflect on the time I spent in Central America. The group dynamic helped me to realize how to best work as a team and provided support then and now in all of my endeavors. The teachers gave me a new perspective of education, and motivated me to do well in school and to pursue an education that I did not know was possible. This school made me excited to learn, to get up and go to school, and to value every opportunity that I am given. This semester in particular, inspired me to study archaeology, in particular Mayan archaeology in college. Mayan history was one of many fascinating and deep topics that we studied over the semester. We were given many opportunities that many people never receive, such as scuba diving, and hiking a volcano. We also talked to many people who have influenced who I have become today, and I wouldn't have had or even considered the chance of talking to them if it weren't for TTS. I love this program so much that I came back for the following semester in Africa. There are always challenges when it comes to traveling abroad for a semester, but the teachers and staff worked to handle every situation in a productive and constructive way.

What would you improve about this program?
I know that money wise it is difficult to take smaller groups, but if I had to say one thing, it would be that.
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Megan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I did this program two years ago and had the trip of a lifetime. Eleven girls and I traveled to three countries in Africa all while taking high school classes for 3 1/2 months. I had some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life. I got to volunteer with multiple organizations, learn a bunch of new hobbies, experience Africa's wildlife try a variety of African foods, and overall experience what Africa is like.

What would you improve about this program?
The biggest problem we encountered was being able to communicate with friends and family back in the states. This is just a problem in Africa though because you are never guaranteed wifi or cellphone service!
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Margo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Making the decision to go abroad with the Traveling School was the best one I ever made, and has shaped my life every step of the way since. I loved it so much I even went on a second semester! The SW Africa semester is truly incredible, with breathtaking scenery at every turn, wild animals to see on every travel day, and some incredible outdoor adventures. Spend a semester traveling in an overland safari truck, camping with a full view of the beautiful starry sky, and learning greetings in languages from Tonga, to German, to Xhosa (a clicking language!). We got to learn about the impacts of apartheid in South Africa, visit the town where Nelson Mandela grew up, and spend a week in the bustling city of Cape Town. We learned to surf in the well-renowned Jeffery's Bay, rock climb in Waterval Boven, and hike Dune 45 in the Namib desert to watch the sunrise. This doesn't even touch on all of the amazing things were able to do and see during our time in Southern Africa, because every day there was a new adventure and unparalleled opportunities for academic exploration.

What would you improve about this program?
I genuinely cannot think of anything I would change about this program. Amazing places, people, activities and academics. I just wish I could go again!
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Margo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Traveling School was beyond the best decision I have ever made. You can spend 3 1/2 months in a classroom, or spend a semester surfing off the coast of El Salvador, learning about the guerrillas who fought in the Guatemalan civil war, scuba diving in the Caribbean, studying the ancient Mayans, doing impactful community service projects, immersing yourself in Spanish, making friends that will last a life time, and growing personally/academically.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, this program was as close to perfect as they come in my opinion. The only thing I would improve, would be to have more trips that go each year so more young girls were able to have the amazing experience I had!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Allegra La Ferr

Allegra attended The Traveling School in her junior year of high school. She is now a junior at Western Washington University studying Environmental Science. She has continued her love for travel and the continent of Africa, where she recently returned to South Africa to study great white sharks. She still stays in touch with her Traveling School classmates and teachers, and attends many alumni events.
Exploring the Okavango Delta by Makoro in Botswana

Why did you decide to study abroad with The Traveling School in Southwest Africa?

Allegra: Initially I was skeptical of leaving all my friends and my hometown, but eventually the desire for something new and different won out. The Traveling School seemed like a good balance of school and an amazing adventure. The Traveling School enabled me to gain high school credit, while experiencing the culture of Southern Africa, what else could a girl hope for?!

What made this high school abroad experience unique and special?

Allegra: This isn't a typical study abroad program with a campus and dorms. Class could be on picnic tables in the campground or beneath the shade of a tree at the end of a hike. In addition, you live with your teachers and fellow classmates. You travel in a big blue truck, which becomes like your home, with 12-16 girls across Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. In what other program can you be studying Geology along the banks of the Orange River in the morning, and then have a lecture from a local guide about living through Apartheid in the evening? Or waking up in Kruger to study ecology and then having a language lesson with a native Africaans speaker?

Class beneath the baobab tree in Botswana

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering studying abroad in high school?

Allegra: While I think traveling abroad in high school is much more difficult than traveling abroad in college, you stand to gain so much more by traveling in high school. Being exposed to a different culture so early in your academic career changes how you view the world. Yes, leaving high school is scary and difficult. But trust me when I say that the experiences you gain will far surpass any amount of homesickness you will feel during the program.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, etc)

Allegra: The Traveling School has impacted me in many ways. First, I become much more comfortable with the idea of traveling thanks to The Traveling School. Since my semester I have traveled by myself and with friends to many corners of the globe. Second, it helped me become impassioned about my studies. Before The Traveling School, I didn't really apply myself in school, but being in such a stimulating and challenging environment made me want to achieve better grades than before. And lastly, I found that I was much more independent and sure of myself after the semester. After I conquered backpacking trips, homesickness, and being challenged mentally for 3 1/2 months, how could I not be?

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Aunge Thomas

Andrea "Aunge" Thomas grew up loving the outdoors in Idaho. Her passion for the skiing, hiking and the rivers led her to Bozeman, MT to study Civil Engineering. After graduating from Montana State University in 2004, Aunge traveled internationally, taught skiing and guided on local rivers for three years. During these adventures, she discovered her interest in experiential education. She apprenticed at High Mountain Institute for a semester before starting with The Traveling School. Aunge is now the Dean of Students for The Traveling School and works to share the power of international education with teenagers. Aunge believes education is a continual process and students will thrive when they push forward to learn through new opportunities while gaining a better sense of the world.

What position do you hold at The Traveling School? What has been your career path so far?

Aunge: I am currently the Dean of Students for The Traveling School. In this position, I oversee the programs while they are in session, develop curriculum and maintain relations with current and past families. I love the variety of my job and knowing that every day will be different.

Andrea "Aunge" Thomas, Dean of Students for The Traveling School

I started teaching with TTS in Spring of 2010 on a South America semester and taught three additional semesters in Africa. For two Africa semesters, I also worked as the Logistical Program Director, balancing my teaching responsibilities with the logistical needs of the trip. I was the Academic Program Director on my final semester which involved overseeing the academic portion of the program. When I wasn’t away with a program, I worked in the office as the Head of the Math Department developing our three curriculums. The variety of roles within the school helped me move forward with the school and begin my new position as the Dean of Students.

Did you study abroad in high school?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?

Aunge: I waited until college to study abroad. I became fascinated with the idea of traveling to learn in high school, but decided to wait until college to do an exchange program. I was inspired to study abroad by pictures, stories and overall excitement from those who returned. Even as a college exchange student I learned and embraced a new sense of adventure and sense of self. Living abroad in one spot for an extended amount of time provided me a nuanced and lasting impression on the international community.

What does the future hold for The Traveling School - any exciting new programs to share?

Aunge: The Traveling School continually tweaks our programs to embrace new opportunities. Although we don’t foresee changing our main itineraries in the next year, we may make slight alterations to visit new locations slightly off our path to study new parts of the South American rainforests or work with NGO’s focused on intertwining soccer and education in Africa. Based on our continual evolution as experiential educators each program is slightly different, which makes it unique and inspiring.

Andrea "Aunge" Thomas, Dean of Students for The Traveling School

What about the future of the high school abroad industry? How do you think international education will change over the next 10 years?

Aunge: I believe international education opportunities will continue to grow and diversify in the next 10 years. As parents discover the positive impact of study abroad programs, they are more likely to encourage their teenagers to participate. Likewise, teenagers are curious to see the world and they are discovering opportunities to delve into new opportunities. As students become more aware of the global community and how it impacts their lives at home, they find inspiration to create new educational paths. The study abroad industry is responsive to this curiosity and should expand to meet the needs of a more diversified clientele. I also believe more people are recognizing the power of experiential eduction and are willing to take the risk to share this type of education with students to create more opportunities for academics outside of the typical classroom.